Kaniva performs at SoundOn Sessions: "A lot of artists make great music, but they can’t perform – you need both"

The first SoundOn Sessions event has taken place at The Pioneer Club in St. Albans, and it was certainly one to remember. 

The result of a brand new artist-focused partnership between SoundOn and Headliner Spaces, SoundOn Sessions are music showcases which will champion the most promising emerging talent on the market, hosted at one of the most exciting and historic grassroots venues in the UK. 

For those who may not be aware, SoundOn is an all-in-one platform for global music distribution and TikTok music marketing. It allows artists to distribute their music on TikTok and all major streaming services, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and more, while maintaining 100% ownership and receiving artist-friendly royalties without administration fees. Furthermore, SoundOn offers unique promotion features that help artists promote their new releases with TikTok's creator marketing, expanding their reach to a larger audience.

This debut SoundOn Session also gave a serious nod to the MOBO UnSung initiative - a relatively new talent competition, spearheaded by SoundOn and TikTok, which provides up-and-coming UK artists new musical opportunities. South London rapper, Kaniva, is part of the MOBO UnSung Class Of 2023, and his performance this evening was one of the highlights. 

Kaniva has been gaining momentum with his hard-hitting punchlines, audacious attitude, and ability to paint a vivid image with his storytelling in regards to issues with homelessness and mental health. He also took to the MainStage at Strawberries & Creem Festival last year. 

During his set, it was incredible how much Kaniva shared about his personal life and the demons he’s faced; and in between songs the fact that he almost quit music entirely. Thank goodness he didn’t, as these lyrics about his struggles with fatherhood, pursuing his passion, and his ups and downs growing up in South London truly captivated the crowd.

And what about the man behind the music?

"I'm an artist, songwriter, and lazy producer from South London," he told Headliner, with a big smile. "I started making music when I was nine. I continued through school, got really popular in my area, and now I’m doing pretty well and I get millions of streams. I’ve also toured a bit, so yeah, it’s all good.

"Getting a MOBO award is one of my biggest dreams, so to be noticed by the people that run it was a big achievement; I think my family thinks I’m doing well now! [laughs] MOBO UnSung is a great programme to be on, I’m having loads of fun. It’s taking me a bit out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing.”

On the importance of grassroots venues and support from SoundOn, Kaniva shared that it’s an essential part of the process of honing one’s craft:

“Venues like The Pioneer Club are really important in terms of grassroots venues when you’re making music, because you’ve got to do these ones before you get to Glastonbury or Wireless. If I wasn’t doing these kinds of events, I wouldn't have the experience. A lot of artists these days make great music, but they can’t perform – and you need both. Everyone can listen to music in their ears, but the live experience is a whole other way to engage with the fans."

SoundOn Sessions aims to showcase and support the most promising new talent on the market.

For independent musicians like Kaniva, finding the right platform to distribute their music and promote their work can be challenging. SoundOn is essentially changing the game by offering a one-stop solution, helping artists such as Kayla Plotzke reach new heights of success. With the recent buzz around the most streamed song on Spotify, and the power of social media in the music industry, it's never been more crucial for artists to embrace innovative platforms like SoundOn.

Plotzke is a prime example of an independent musical artist harnessing the power of SoundOn to reach new listeners and grow her fan base. By distributing her music on SoundOn, Kayla has been able to maintain ownership of her work while expanding her reach to millions of potential listeners across major streaming platforms. As a result, she has seen increased success and a growing online presence.

The performances on the night packed a punch thanks to The Pioneer’s sound system, which comprises eight JBL SRX910 line arrays, four SRX928S ground-stacked subs and four JBL PRX908 floor monitors. Two PRX915 DJ monitors also reside at the venue, along with a Soundcraft Ui24 mixer. Meanwhile, two JBL PRX912s are positioned on the VIP balcony as delays.

JBL’s presence at The Pioneer Club also extends beyond the main performance space and into its bar and mini performance area – The Suet Yard. Fully reimagined from its initial iteration as a communal canteen area, it is now a social, DJ and performance space that sits alongside the main venue area, complete with a bar powered by Signature Brew and a JBL-powered PA system that can accommodate everything from DJ sets and stripped back and acoustic sessions for up to 200 people.

The full PA system consists of an assortment of speakers from JBL’s PRX Series, including PRX915XLF subwoofers, PRX908 and IRX108BT loudspeakers, as well as a Soundcraft Ui24R mixer.

A comprehensive Martin Lighting rig works to spotlight the artists and sets the mood on stage and throughout the venue, which includes compact beam moving heads, bright single-lens LED moving heads, bright single-lens LED PAR cans, bright single-lens colour LED PAR can light fixtures, ultra-bright quad LED blinder fixtures and a JEM ZR35 fog machine.

The next SoundOn Sessions will take place on Thursday November 16th at The Pioneer Club. Also in partnership with MOBO UnSung, it will feature a special headline performance from Wes Nelson.

Photo credits: The Brytz Sisters